OUR BAD TIMES DIDN’T START IN 2016 – Marilyn Armstrong

We are having a national moment. We have our worst-ever president and his spineless, corrupt congress. We have an Attorney General who should be up on charges. We’re in the middle of an oncoming election and the Democrats seem more inclined to tear pieces off each other than cultivate voters. Our moment has so far lasted three years — a long, terrible, tormented national “moment” and if we aren’t careful, it could last a lot longer.

I’ve had to go back and look harder at our history. This catastrophe didn’t “sort of show up” in 2016. It gave us a couple of centuries of warning. We knew this calamity was lurking. We’ve been building towards it for our entire history.

American has done great things. We have also done horrendous and unspeakable things. We allowed slavery and we’ve never recovered from its taint. We slaughtered the Natives who lived here and pretend we didn’t.

We have, as most countries do, glossed over the worst parts of our history and focused on the good stuff. We have pretended our failures never happened or really weren’t that bad. We have held ourselves up as a beacon of light to other countries but behaved more like a flashlight with failing batteries.

We need to do a lot better.

One of the many important things Obama said his final speech was although we made progress, we assumed progress meant we left “the bad stuff” behind and moved on. That isn’t what happened. Even when our better selves dominated, the ugly history remained stuck. We never addressed the issue of race. We have yet to give Natives an even break.

We fought our  Civil War more than 150 years ago and although the battles stopped, the war never ended. Now that we have a straight-out racist as president, it has become painfully obvious how deeply rooted our hatred goes. It needs to change economically, educationally, and culturally.

We forget how we became the world’s major industrial power. We built our economy on the bombed-out remnants of Europe and Japan following two devastating wars. We fought, but the fighting was never on our shores. Think about Pearl Harbor and 9/11. Then imagine how different this country would be if both world wars had been fought in this country, on this continent. Who would be the great industrial power then?

This is our time to consider who we want to become. Unless we make a hard and gritty determination to not just say we are great but to also be great, we will be lost to history, a blip on the timeline.


Categories: American history, Marilyn Armstrong, Photography, Politics, War and battles

Tags: , , , , , ,

16 replies

  1. Not just the US or UK, I guess most countries are seeing these kind of leaders on the rise. Sometimes the uneducated voting and the educated refraining from it becomes a problem.
    I hope your cold is better now.


  2. I say this to all. If we give up and let fate take its toll we will never get out of it. While I’m not a particularly religious person, I have read a lot about the time when God is supposed to step in and solve things once and for all, because we can’t seem to solve it for ourselves. We have no way of proving this prophecy as it has to happen for it to be true. So, do we stand around and wait, or do we fight until we can’t anymore?


  3. Whew! So glad you are on the planet the same time as me!! You inspire me to take a stand, even if only in my tiny world.
    Thanks Marilyn.


    • I do the best I can, but I never feel I’ve done anything much. I try. I don’t know what else I could do. I think I am too old for this world.


      • This is brilliant Marilyn, and encompasses the thoughts of many of us. Maybe individually we don’t think we’ve done anything much, but collectively we have a chance to change things. As far as what you/I can do.., we can vote.


        • In the end, voting is THE thing. Those who don’t bother to vote and then complain about everything make me crazy. This time, if you don’t vote, I don’t want to hear about your problems. There’s too much at stake to decide not to bother because it’s raining or too cold.


      • Oh NO! You’re not. too old! Keep telling it like it is Marilyn. Even if you can’t necessarily influence the whole vote (or planet) I really believe you are a person of great impact in rippling ways you don’t even know!!!


        • I try. But I have to say I’m getting tired and I have to slow down. I need some time to just read a book or watch the birds. These days I’m either taking pictures, processing pictures, writing, rewriting and I read a few posts in between and by then, it’s time to cook dinner. I’m just tired. And I’m feeling whiney because (sniff) I have a cold. No one is sympathetic because they have colds, too.

          Liked by 1 person

          • Well, I don’t currently have a cold so you can have all my extra sympathy today! 😉

            I also empathize with the tired…Whew! Yeah bird watching is a daily delight for me. The Hummers are practically swarming my feeders the last few days!


  4. I had a lengthy conversation with a sibling recently. He insists that “Trump is perhaps our greatest President” because he’s done what he said he would. This sibling totally ignores the racism, the misogyny, the bigotry and hatred spewing agenda that horror in office has. This sibling tells me that I’m ‘basing my opinion on emotions rather than facts.’ Lord love a duck! Sibling ignores the blatant fascism as well. I don’t know how America is going to survive this mess because if it continues (and there’s a more than fair chance it will) I think the nation will tear itself in two.


    • A lot of people seem to think he has built a wall and Mexico paid for it. And that he gave us a big tax cut. They believe whatever he says IS a fact when it’s not. You can’t do anything with them. They are lost in some other dimension.


  5. Wise words indeed, and your analysis would fit equally well for the UK. Both our societies have refined denial concerning our worst activities to an art form. Both our societies’ ruling elite believe they have some inalienable right to be considered world-leaders in the institution and promulgation of democratic rights, truth and justice. So much self-praise as our armaments obliterate all of these values for so many millions of others. Reality checks past being urgent.


    • I often feel like somehow, we have gone back in time and it’s the 1930s again, but with better technology. The Brits like to forget how they slaughtered all the non-whites wherever they went and passed that along to the nations that followed. Americans took the evil and made it worse. Most European nations had a go at massive racism and called it “the white man’s burden” while non-whites suggested they drop their burdens and the world would be the better for it.

      I no longer have any good ideas about what to do. I really thought we were better than this, that if it got really bad, we’d stand up and denounce the bad guys. We didn’t. It looks like we won’t, either. It is demoralizing.

      The worst part is that we could have seen this coming — if we had looked.


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